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Gregory Jackson

IT Contractor at Insight Global

253

15

My DC United Kits

Inspiration:

This is DC's club.

This is something I've wanted to do for a long, long time. I've followed the MLS club DC United since the inception of Major League Soccer and they established themselves as the "elite" club of the league's early days. As I became more interested in kit design work and history, I realized that DCU's most notable kits were essentially a base template with big adidas stripes stretched across the chest of the shirts and the legs of the shorts. Currently Major League Soccer holds an exclusive agreement with Adidas giving the company complete equipment and apparel deals throughout each club. While offering league stability as far as avoiding the need to clubs to pursue apparel deal individually, as is the norm in most soccer leagues, it does present the lack of uniqueness due to each league choosing from the templates of the same company. DC United has actually had a relationship with Adidas dating back to the birth of MLS, well before the existence of the league-wide exclusive deal. There are about five years to go before there is the possibility of kit freedom in MLS (the exclusive adidas deal currently runs until 2018). Hopefully when that day comes, the aethestic expression that soccer/football can show is given a platform here to be displayed. Having said that, I think the premise of the original kits lay a great idea to incorporate into a new DCU kit and identity with a new manufacturer.

DCU's kit history from their first 10 years

DC United Early Kit History

Original kits in action:

Current DC United kits

The flag of the District of Columbia above contains two horizontal red stripes with three stars above the stripes representing the District, Maryland, and Virginia.  I want to implement the aspects of the DC flag into DC United's kits as a nod to the homebase. I saw a shirt for sale a couple of weeks ago from Who Are Ya Designs. The shirt, aptly named "The District", alluded to both the template of the DC flag and success of the club's past as the four stars represent the four MLS Cup Championships they have won. Once I saw this, idea lightbulbs started going off.

Flag of Washington, DC

"The District" T-shirt, found at Who are Ya Designs

http://www.whoareyadesigns.com/product-p/dcu1.htm

As I said earlier, with MLS's current league-wide apparel deal with Adidas leaves little room for variety in kit wear and I think DCU could use a kit that is identifiable with their history and also the District they play in. With selecting Under Armour as the kit manufacturer, I wanted to go with the growing brand based nearby in Baltimore, who has a strong relationship with local players and teams, such as the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens and the University of Maryland. Extending the brand down the Beltway into the District seemed logical as UA has recently began outfitting soccer clubs such as Tottenham Hotspur in the English Premier League.

My original idea for the kit is probably based off the famed kits of Flamengo in Brazil. Their "hooped" red and black kits has always been a look I've been a fan of. Obviously, with the DC Flag as the basis, I wanted the home kit to have a traditional look with the stripes laid horizontally across the shirt, as the stripes on the flag are. Oddly there is only one MLS club who regularly uses hoops (FC Dallas) and I think it this idea adds to that, though without necessarily requiring hoops from top to bottom on the shirt. In the away strip, I chose to give the stripes more variety and have them go vertically. Let's say in a real world environment, the traditional look would be the home and stripes would always be horizontal. The away however can have some flexibility and from cycle to cycle can be vertical, diagonal, and maybe on occasion worn over the shoulders with a blank front without stripes. I'd also be open to white/red change shorts.For the 3rd/Alternate kit, I wanted to do a slight change of pace, I went with a dark royal blue over red, which was what the last DCU alternate kit was designed in. I kept the regular theme as the home and away in keeping the stripe, but instead going with a single vertical stripe. I think the kits of Paris St. Germain were a clear influence here. The Volkswagon shirt sponsor is simply a continuation of the existing sponsorship the club has with a car maker, and frankly one of my favorite sponsors in the league. Another change is placing the DC Flag above the name on the back instead of the DCU Eagle mark as done on the primary kits. Around the time Spain won the last World Cup, I noticed a lot of teams in La Liga sported a Spanish flag mark on various spots on the shirts and placing the DC Flag here seemed appropriate. I'd honestly place it on the sleeve in place of the US Flag, but that patch is done as league standard. What I would probably suggest instead is the captain's armband is designed as a replica of the flag of DC.

 

Flamengo:

And now... My DC United Home (black), Away (white/red), and 3rd/Alternate (dark royal) kits by Under Armour!

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